New(ish) Camera – Fujifilm X-A5 – 680nm Infrared

O.k. it’s not new but a Fujifilm refurb sold on Ebay by a bloke called Tim who sells cameras converted to Infrared (he may sell normal stuff as well).

X series
X Series Collection

The X-A series is unusual for an interchangeable lens camera as it’s lacking a separate viewfinder, however you have a large touchscreen LCD which can be articulated up and down.

I’d noticed the X-A series when I was looking around for a carry round camera, but my preference is a viewfinder rather than a rear LCD screen – so I had pretty much ignored it. Pity really as the camera is really solid and actually construction wise feels better than the X-E3. Anyway, so why buy if I hate the view finder so much? Well, the truth is cost. This unit was £220 delivered, I could’ve picked up a X-E3, X-Pro 1 or a XT series for another £100/200 on top of what I paid, but I figured this is a trial run so I went with a camera that has a similar sensor to my existing kit at the lower price (you can get some older X-A models for £185) and maybe if IR is something I look to do more of then maybe then I’ll consider the more expensive kit later on.

With IR there are options as well, conversions of camera can have various filters fitted, or if you want you can have a Full Spectrum conversion which I believe you need to use filters on lenses to achieve the effect you want. Other typical conversions are 520nm, 680nm, 720nm and 850nm. I went sort of towards the middle and bought the 680nm camera (although I cocked up and ordered the 850nm, but that was sorted by Tim). The fixed (frequency/light wavelength?) models are just that, although you can add filters to the lenses for some of them to get similar effects – this is where it can get complicated hence why I just picked a model and IR level and stuck with it.

X-A5 with Articulated LCD Display
X-A5 Side profile, Strap hides the Flash mechanism release and microphone socket
X-A5 – Hotshoe and controls

The menus are similar to the other X-Series cameras I use (X-Pro2/X-E3) so learning wise it’s not too much of an issue. This camera does have a touch screen, which is useful – but was annoying when I kept accidentally changing the AF settings (typically this is a switch on the front of the other X-Series models). The LCD is clear and large enough for me to use comfortably. I have a touch screen option on the X-E3, but I disabled that as I felt the buttons on the camera gave me the control I wanted. Maybe after using the X-A5 I may revisit this.

As with a lot of smaller cameras you typical loose some of the command dials. This camera is no exception to that, after years of have Canon Eos and now Fuji with a front and rear dial how will I cope?

X-A5 Command Dial

The truth is, the really small black command dial behind the thumb rest works really well. I mainly shoot in Aperture and have done with most of my cameras, so one dial is fine. If I use manual mode then the command dial on the top right is used for Shutter Speed (its normal role is for exposure compensation).

The camera as you’d expect is compatible with X Series lenses, and yes I did try the 100-400 on it (not with the 1.4ex though!). One of the advantages of another X-Series Camera is another battery – so that’s 3 decent batteries now, I’ve got a couple of compatible batteries which work fine most of the time. With the compatible batteries I have the camera and battery never seem to be able to give a reliable usage indication so they tend to die at around 50%.

Another plus of similar spec’d models is this camera also works fine with the Fujifilm App on my phone – allowing me to easily upload and edit files when I’m out and about without access to my Mac and Lightroom.

So what’s the appeal of IR. Not sure, I tend to see the occasional image and I like them. IR images tend to be either Black and White or a Fake Colour – both can look really nice or terrible to be honest. For me I’d probably lean initially to Black and White as it’s much easier to deal with.

The raw file out of the camera looks odd, like a Bladerunner 2049 image where someone’s gone mad with the colour sliders……

IR Raw File (o.k I’ve converted it Jpeg)

As you can see it looks odd, Black and White controls it to a certain degree, but it still looks strange. There’s a number of decent blogs/websites than explain the reasons, but I’ll settle for ‘I like the effect’.

Washing Line Test
Black Spot on the Trees

You may or not be able to tell, but the IR filter on the camera really shows the black spots on the leaves for this tree. Not sure if that means the tree is doomed or not.

UK Garage Scene

We’ll end it here, as you can tell I’ve not really had the time to visit anywhere decent other than my back garden and over the fence into the drive way. But I guess I had to start it somewhere and to be honest the IR selfies I took were disturbing.

Hopefully in the next few weeks/months I can get out to more exotic places (or the country side around Birmingham).

New Lens – XF55-200mmF3.5-4.8 R LM OIS

Unusually for me I didn’t blog about the long drawn out process of indecision before choosing a lens. The 55-200 (XF55-200mmF3.5-4.8 R LM OIS – to give it the full title) is a lens I’ve been meaning to check out for a while, it helps cover a gap in the focal range from 55 to 100mm. It’s also a much more convenient carry around lens compared to the 100-400mm as this image shows……

55-200 vs 100-400
Size matters?

As you can see it’s a little over half the size of the 100-400 as well as being considerably lighter. Not that the 100-400 is that heavy when compared to my old Canon Stuff.

Fuji Collection
Part of my Fujifilm Collection (and a Samyang!)

I normally wait for the Photography Show or Fuji’s Winter/Summer offerings, but nothing was available, plus the lens I bought was local to me at the time (Mifsuds – Brixham) for around £530 (about 20% cheaper than new). Condition wise, mostly mint to be honest – the box was good apart from a bit of tape and the lens hood looks a little worn around the mount – but on the whole it was perfect for what I wanted.

In the subsequent couple of months of ownership I’ve not really had a chance to test it, but a spare Saturday and a local railway line and airport gave me an opportunity to point the lens at something other than my dog.

West Coast
West Coast Mainline Pendolino – Avanti West Coast Fuji X-E3, Fuji 55-@200mm 128mm 1/1250 f/4.4 iso200
Logan Air
Logan Air – Embraer Fuji X-E3, Fuji 55-200 @60mm 1/2700 f/5.6 iso200

Both shots are quite ordinary to be honest, but considering it’s a basic (almost kit) lens I was happy with the handling and quality of the images. The Logan Air image was tweaked a bit as it was a little dark, but that’s fairly normal for the angle of the shot and cloud.

Hopefully I can get to use it a bit more in the next few weeks and I may even remember to update the blog!

Sony Viewdata KTX-9000 Review!!

I’ve probably not mentioned it before, but I have a couple of those old Sony Travel Agent Terminals which were on a long list of things to deal with when I’m bored. So after a year of on/off lockdowns and home working I’ve reached the boredom threshold where I’ve taken a look at the list.

Way back I wrote a program so I could use them as an info screen – but I got stuck and left it. Moving on 25 years later I dug them out of the loft and had a look at what I did and simplified it.

I’ve documented what I did for my first video for my YouTube Channel.

I’ve added an embedded video at the bottom of the post – enjoy!!

YouTube link to my Retro Site for you to enjoy

Redux

Might have done similar posts before, can’t be bothered to search!

Misty Fireworks – Brixham

Bit of a re-work from an old shot from a couple of years ago in Brixham

New Season (slightly late)

It’s that time again – actually it was a few weeks back, but I didn’t get round to posting the images for the 1st Quarterly, or the RoseBowl/3 of a kind.

So these are the efforts for the 2nd Quartlerly:

Prints:

Central Library
Central Library
Centre Point

The Centre Point image did well in the quarterly as a digital image, but the lights in the building distracted the judge too much – so for the print i’ve toned them down a bit. The Central Library image is one I though might look good as a print – so I’ll give it a go.

Digital:

Bins – back streets of Brum

Rock n Roll (title might change as I think its shite!)

A couple of randoms for the digital. They might change, but at least I’ve done some!